The older we get I think we begin to realize that life is not a popularity contest, more of a security contest. So my question is Ö why does it seem more difficult to form those deeper, longer lasting bonds than it seemed to be when we were younger?

Were we just more open and accepting of people, their personalities, and their quirks when we were younger; and as we have grown older our friendships and relationships have grown too? Or as young adults were we too naÔve to recognize any faults in our friends? Or as older adults are we just that much more critical and protective of ourselves, our families and whom we allow into our lives?

This thought crossed my mind not too long ago for one reason or another. And what was odd, is that very next day I was watching a talk show, and it was the subject of their group discussion segment, which I found to be extremely odd; but it put my mind at ease knowing that I was not the only person wondering this myself.

I think as young people or young adults we feel that if we arenít surrounded by people at all times, and in the center of it all, then we arenít popular, or well liked; and that of course is just the insecurity of being an adolescent or a teen. But as we grow older, we learn that we are who we are, and hopefully people will accept you for just that Ö the person you have become; and as adults we learn that sometimes itís OK to stand alone, or be alone.

In fact at times I crave alone time. Now donít get me wrong there are those times in life that I may be having a bad day and feel lonely, but then I have to sit back and remind myself that my life is full of wonderful peopleófriends, family, acquaintances, and people I havenít even met. So we are never truly alone.

Someone once told me, that if you leave this Earth with 3-5 really close friends, that truly know you inside and out, and still love you, then you have had a very successful life. So that leads me back to my question Ö as adults are we more critical of whom we allow in our lives, or are we just more protective?

My point is, as adults are we more apt to pick out peopleís flaws, or are we still just as accepting as we were as teens, but now we are just more protective and thorough on our selection process.

Meaning, we make new friends, but we are more cognitively aware of the personality types that really jive with our personality because we have grown up, and we know what type of person works best with our personality or agree with our outlook or philosophy on life in general.

I personally think it is the latter. I donít think we become more closed off or more critical about who our friends are as we get older; I just think we are more aware of who we are as adults, which allows us to step back and really get to know someone, and decide if their personality traits work with ours.

Because letís face it, we are all so busy as adults, with kids, jobs, activities, travel, school, you name it; itís on our plates on a daily basis. So I think we are just more aware of who fits into our lifestyle better than others.

That, and we realize, that we arenít running for homecoming or prom anymore, so not everyone in the entire world has to like you. And that is another great piece of advice I received as a maturing adult (way back) in my 20s Ö not everyone will or has to like you; and thatís OK. It doesnít make you a bad person or them a bad person, it just means that on some level you guys donít connect.

So remember, whether you are standing in a crowded room, or in the middle of a rain storm all alone; you need to be comfortable with who you are and who you surround yourself with Öyou never are truly alone in the world.

And those bonds and friendships you have made throughout your life, the ones that you call family are far and few between, so recognize them, hold on to them, and never ever take them for granted.

Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a local columnist based in Corsicana. She may be reached by e-mail at columnwriter98@hotmail.com. Following Samanthaís blog at http://samantha-daviss.blogspot.com